Dune: distance

Time for another page of Dune’s book. A new class starts on Monday and there are 11 dogs in Oregon in phase 8 with two more in 7. That gives Dune a 50/50 chance of being in this class. The bad part if Dune is in the next class, is that Emma is in heat and on house arrest until the end of the month so she wouldn’t be able to go to graduation with us. The good part is that no matter what happens next week it will be a good thing in one way or another. As an interesting side not, in the last few weeks Emma has taken to looking out the window too. She never did it while Dune was here.

Dune is the second of our pups to use the kitty tower to look out the front window. She is always interested in what is happening in the world around her. She doesn’t want to miss and thing. If she hears a sound outside she will run to the window and fine out what is going on. When we happen to leave her home she will watch us go. Or when she hears Bill get home from work she hops up on the kitty tower to have a better view of the outside world. She is the same way in the car. Dune is much more likely to be looking out the window of the car as we drive somewhere than to be snoozing as most dogs do.


Dune: dear


Another class started this week and Dune is not apart of it. She has now been in phase 8 for 5 weeks. There were 12 dogs in Oregon in phase 8 last week and with 6 dogs per class, Dune had a 50/50 chance of being chosen. No such luck. I spent some time (too much probably) analyzing the phase reports since January. 80% of the dogs that make it to phase 8 are either career changed or in class by the 5th week in phase 8.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining because I truly want the right match for Dune more than a quick graduation. I friend’s dog spent 9 weeks in phase 6 and she finally moved on to phase 7 this week. I am so excited for her. That was a long wait. It is much easier for them to have them waiting in phase 8 for the right person and Dune needs the right kind of person that will love and appreciate her for who she is. But this is a patience building stage of being a puppy raiser. While we wait for the next dog day in Oregon on June 9th, enjoy another page from Dune’s puppyhood book.

Bill does the morning relieving and feeding. When that is done he likes to get on the floor with Dune and play with her and then spend some time snuggling with her. He does the same thing when he gets home from work. Dune gets a bit silly sometimes in her pleasure at playing with Bill and getting his undivided attention.

Dune: dashing


The next dog day in Oregon is on Monday. I hope I’m not as anxious about it as I was the last one. I really do want the right match for Dune not a quick match, but I’m excited to see her take the next step on her journey. In the meantime, here is another page from her puppyhood book.

Dashing up and down the hall in our house is one of Dune’s favorite things. This usually happens after she has been out socializing and has had to manage herself and keep her excitement in check. When she gets home she just needs to let loose for a bit and dash up and down the hall. Just before bed she also likes to do this. Dune and Emma are quite the pair of labs when the too of them running up and down the hall way. I call it the Indy 500. Her cohort in these races was usually our 8th puppy in training Emma.

Dune: darling


A new class started this week in Boring, Oregon but Dune was not part of it. Felix who we transported to campus in February is in class, so that is awesome. I keep reminding myself that a good match is so much more important than a fast match. So next potential graduation is June 7th. Here is another page from Dune’s book.

Even as a little puppy Dune was darling. Another puppy raiser commented that she was like a miniature dog and she was. Instead of the typical big feet and gangly looks of most puppies, Dune was very petite and well proportioned. She grew in an even and gradual way and kept the same proportion as when she was a puppy.

As a grown dog, she is still darling not only in how she looks but also in personality. She has a gentleness about her even while she has strength and determination.

Dune: dance


We are now in the waiting stage with Dune’s training. The phase report came out as usual but since phase 8 is the last phase the report looked the same as far as Dune is concerned. The next class in Oregon starts on Monday so we will be holding our breath every time the phone rings on wondering if it will be news about Dune. I’d guess that there is about a 25% chance of her being in the next class.

Dinner time is dance time for Dune, especially if she has to wait past the usual 5:00 p.m. feeding time. We worked to teach her to wait calmly for her dinner but when I first start moving toward the kitchen she just can’t contain her excitement and spins and hops and dancing feet just pop out of her. It is very cute. Once I get the food into her bowl and start adding the water she settles down nicely and waits calmly for the “OK” command. Dune’s dance is short but very energetic.

Dune is also a natural at standing on her hind legs and balancing herself. I have no doubt that she could learn to dance on her hind legs like I’ve seen in competitions on the TV. Too bad I didn’t get any pictures of her doing such things.

Dune: daffy & phase 8


I think someone was trying to stress out all the puppy raisers with dogs in training today. Usually the phase report comes out early Thursday morning (2 a.m. local time) So when I woke up in the middle of the night I got up to check. But the link to the report got an error so no luck. I check Facebook and found out that I wasn’t the only one with the problem. It took until this afternoon to get access to the report fixed. Good news is that Dune is in phase 8! This is the last phase of training to be a guide dog. Next step is meeting her new partner in an upcoming class. That could happen in about a week and a half or it could take many weeks. Now it comes to the waiting game. Super happy and proud that Dune has reached this milestone. It is looking like she wants to be a guide dog.

Phase 8

There is a daffy side to Dune. She loves belly rubs and she loves to play. She brought joy and lots of laughter to our lives with her silly antics. Dune also likes to sleep in the craziest positions. Puppies are amazing that way. It was fun to see how relaxed and confident she was with her world.

Dune: daring & phase 7


I was so pleased to see that Dune was in phase 7 on this week’s phase report. Just one phase to go until she is ready to be a guide dog. Way to go Dune! We are proud and happy for your progress.

Here is the basics of what Dune is learning in phase 7.

I think daring could be Dune’s middle name. She loves new adventures, going places, meeting people. Not much phases her. From the beginning Dune was always ready to learn and do new things. She learned to do the stairs in our house in record time. Some pups take weeks to be willing to try the stairs, Dune had them mastered in hours.

When we went to the State Fair, though cautious she was curious about the animal. (Except Dune wanted nothing to do with the pigs.)
There was only one thing that she really struggled with. We went to a museum that had a Plexiglas floor as part of an exhibit. She was determined that walking on it was a bad idea. The other pups were more easily persuaded but not Dune. With a lot of work we got her walk across it, but she wasn’t happy about it.

Dune: duplicate & phase 6

Yeah for phase 6! I had myself mentally prepared for another phase 5 this week. Sometimes when a dog jumps a phase they are in the same phase the next week. I even stayed up until the phase report came out a 2 a.m. this morning. Bill was working late so I decided I’d read my book for book club (The Rent Collector) and wait for it to show up. I’ve been paranoid to do that because last time I tried to see the phase report in the middle of the night with Zodiac something went wrong with my access and I didn’t get to see the report for a couple of days. Here is a short description of what Dune is learning in phase 6.

Phase 6

Dune had an older brother (puppy in training #6) Zodiac the first 4 months that we raised her. She looked up to Zodiac and wanted to be just like him. Even though the were opposite in color and gender they were so much alike in other ways. It was amazing how many times when Dune was young that she would be laying in the exact same position as Zodiac, a duplicate of him.

It was fun when the tables were turned and Dune was the older pup and Emma (puppy in training #8) was the one looking up to Dune and wanting to be just like her.

Dune: determined & phase 5


I was pleased and surprised when I saw the 5 by Dune’s name on the phase report today. Now she is right on track with the other dogs assigned to training strings at the same time she was. If she moves forward one phase each week, Dune could theoretically graduate on May 10th. Odds are against her graduating that soon though. Here is a short description of what Dune is learning in phase five.

With a basic nature that is both analytical and adventurous she has been the only puppy out of 8 so far to learn to use the dog door into the garage. Puppies in training don’t get to have free access to the backyard, but we have a dog door that we put in when we had a pet dog and our cat still uses. As a puppy she happened to put her paws up on the door and it flapped outward. The next day she tried it again and this time pushed her head on through. The door is high enough off the ground that her belly got high centered and she tittered for a moment. But she was determined and managed to get herself on through. Thank goodness Bill was right there on the outside to snag her. It took a few weeks to teach her that the dog door was not an option for her, but she caught on.

Dune: demanding & phase 3

This week Dune has progressed to phase 3! Yeah! It was so good to see her progressing again. We will probably never know why she spent two weeks in phase 2 but on to bigger and better things for our girl. Here is the short version of what she is learning in Phase 3.

Phase 3

Looks like I need to add phase 3 long version to my to do list along with phase 2.


We knew right away that we had our hands full with our new puppy Dune. Maybe it was the trauma of flying in cargo but Dune was the noisiest puppy we have experienced. She knew she didn’t want to be in the kennel and she let us know.

The first few nights we didn’t get much sleep because she was so demanding. I just kept reminding myself that if we gave in now we would really have a battle on our hands. It was tough to tell when your message went from “I want out of here” to “I need to pee” or “I just pooped in my kennel.” I kept a flashlight by my bed and moved the kennel to the side of the bed so I could check on her without getting out of bed. The first night was almost none stop cacophony. But each night after that it got better.